Mark Bowden’s song cycle The Soul Candle features in “Taliesin’s Songbook” a new CD released last month by Tŷ Cerdd.
This album presents an exploration of 20th- and 21st-century Welsh song in which The Soul Candle is performed by Gareth Brynmor John and Andrew Matthews Owen.
Three poems by Gwyneth Lewis are presented preceded by a short extract from the collection’s title poem, Soul Candles. After this short introduction, in which the poet speaks directly to the listener, the first song begins. One day, feeling hungry makes use of some of the structural elements of the poem to create a tightly organised harmonic structure. This works its way towards a climactic piano ostinato at the line‚ ‘the brightness of others who had swallowed stars’ before slowly winding down and leading into the second song. The vocal phrases of Drought cut across the formal structure of the poem as the music goes through several changes of tempo before ending with a series of widely spaced, glassy chords. The final song, Spring, begins with a cheery ostinato in seven-time before a darker middle section leads to a short concluding piano figure; an echo of the very opening music but this time without the poet’s, or singer’s, voice.
The Soul Candle is proudly available for perusal and purchase through Composers Edition website, as well as other works by Mark Bowden.